Everyone’s a critic

Censorship is one of my least favorite aspects of owning a blog.

I put up a post, I try my best to be honest and capture my feelings.

And it never fails to occasionally piss someone off.

You might notice that a few posts have disappeared lately.

That’s because SOMEONE objected to them and threw a little snit fit so I obligingly took the offending posts down.

You’d think in this day and age, that censorship would be a thing of the past.

But you’d be wrong.

The irony is that I write about what I love – my family and friends, costumes, gifts, quilting, camping, festivals, Burning Man. . .

Sometimes my desire to be completely honest conflicts with other people’s desires to remain anonymous.

And since I love everyone I write about, I decided it was okay to self-censor and take down the posts.

But just so you know, it hasn’t been an easy week for me and I’m sure many people can say the same.

Rough times out there in the real world of the good old USA.

Father’s Day and stuff

As we all know, Father’s Day is fast approaching.

I have mixed feelings about Father’s Day mainly because my father basically doesn’t want any acknowledgement of the holiday.

And because he’s a cranky old man.

But even cranky old men deserve a little love and so my sister and I bought him two bottles of 2017 Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blancs.

Not a huge financial undertaking, just a gesture gift.

Lebanese wine for an old Lebanese man, perfecto!

Plus it’s from the Bekaa Valley which is where my dad hails from so there’s that.

And while we’re on the topic of gifts, I also got my youngest a gift. . . just because:

Parakeet shorts, for my parakeet lover in the family.

Of course, I had to get a matching t-shirt for her as well:

So there you have it – gifts for my loved ones.

All I need is something for my birth father and it’s all taken care of.

Snapshot of my life

Okay, I have a pet peeve.

America is self-destructing and Facebook is still marketing garbage to me.

Cheap dresses from China.

False eyelashes from all over.

Strange oddities from Wish.com (like a vaginal steamer).

Who does Facebook think I am?

Gwyneth Paltrow?

Amidst all this chaos, I am continuing my regular rituals of getting up early, going to work (from my dining room), and working on costumes.

The Egyptian slave costume is finished and I’m happy to say that my friend Nadine has a matching outfit.

So on to the next costume – an angel outfit complete with halo and wings.

It’s what I do to keep the anxiety at bay.

I’m also looking into online MBA programs offered by UC Davis, San Jose State, and Purdue Global.

The good news is that all these programs look affordable and reasonable for me to be accepted into.

The bad news is I have to take 2 semesters of economics and one semester of statistics to meet the prerequisites of applying.

Maybe also an algebra class (something I tested out of in high school when I took college calculus as a senior).

So there you have it – a snapshot into my life as it exists right now.

It’s good to be seen

Tonight I’m thinking of my dear friend Andrew who was murdered by his ex-girlfriend in 2001.

I met Andrew on my first day transferring into a new kindergarten.

We never stopped being friends and kept in touch through high school, college, medical school (for him) and marriage (for me).

Another friend Jon once described Andrew as the kind of person who when he walked into a room, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

He was charismatic.

Funny.

Charming.

Occasionally, I dream about Andrew and I ALWAYS realize I’m dreaming when he makes an appearance so I get down on my knees and start crying telling him how much I miss him.

He always stands me up, hugs me and then chats with me like old friends catching up.

Today, my mother spoke with his mother.

It’s something they do occasionally so that isn’t remarkable.

What is remarkable is that my mom is working on organizing THOUSANDS of old photos into albums and the next picture she plucked from the pile was a picture of Andrew with my dad and I.

Probably a picture from the last time I’d ever see him in person, although that detail only occurs to me now as I write this.

I took the picture, studied Andrew’s face, realized that the picture was taken in the very room where my mom told me he had been murdered.

The very room I was sitting in now.

Waves of nostalgia came over me and I found myself playing back images of him and I in my mind.

Him BLASTING “Top of the World” by Van Halen as he burned rubber out of his high school parking lot after graduation.

Listening to grunge music while playing pool at Andrew’s house.

My visit to see him in Irvine when we were in undergraduate school.

I attempted to relieve the sadness inside me by opening up my phone and scrolling through Reddit.

Lo and behold, the documentary about Andrew’s murder popped up in my reddit stream and I paused before watching the first 15 minutes of it.

I don’t usually watch that movie unless I have a bottle of wine, tissues, and at least a day to recover from my hangover.

The circularity of life is amazing.

I was supposed to think of him and remember our friendship.

And so a toast to my friend:

“There are good ships and wood ships,

Ships that sail the sea,

But the best ships are friendships,

May they always be!”

So, the car fire. . .

As we’re leaving Middletown after our hot air balloon ride (the same Middletown which burnt to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015), we’re driving down this windy mountain road when all of a sudden we’re driving through smoke.

WTF?!

We come around a blind curve to find a white van pulled to the side of the road and FIRE IS DRIPPING FROM ITS UNDERCARRIAGE.

Jeff, my sexy pilot, pulls our car over and jumps out.

He runs to the van where PEOPLE ARE SITTING INSIDE.

“Get out!” he yells.

No one moves.

“Get out of the car!” he tries again.

Still, no one moves.

One last time, “Get out of the car it’s on FIRE!!!”

The car occupants obviously understood the word “FIRE” because they jumped out of the car.

That’s when Jeff, the hero of this story and my current crush, jumped INTO the burning vehicle.

He moved it away from the dry brush it was near and away from overhanging trees so that it wouldn’t catch the forest on fire.

Again.

Because what Middletown really DOESN’T need is another forest fire.

In the end, there was nothing to do but let the car burn.

Jeff ushered us back in our car and we left the scene.

About 5 minutes into our drive we finally passed 2 fire trucks coming up the grade to deal with the fire.

I can only image what the scene must’ve looked like by then.

Here is the picture I took of the car fire.

Notice Jeff literally flying in from the right side (dressed in khakis) to save the day.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Is he single?”

And the answer is no, he’s married.

But a girl can fantasize.

car fire

Balloon Adventure Chronicles: The Sewage Treatment Plant and Fire Fallout

balloonMy hot air balloon ride adventure began when the van I was in got pulled over for having expired tags.

Whoah!

The cop was in a foul mood and actually yelled at the hot air balloon owner/operator a few times.

Not nice.

Anyway, the error got sorted out and we were on our way, me sitting next to a very chatty driver named Ben.

Once we established that I was indeed taking a romantic hot air balloon ride BY MYSELF, he was all friendly and even told me I looked like Anna Nicole Smith.

Yes, I get that, I told him.

So we drive all the way to Middletown to escape the low laying fog in Sonoma.

You remember Middletown?

It burned to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015.

Middletown fireSo that was our scenery when 30+ of us took off in three separate hot air balloons.

Oh, did I mention the sewage treatment plant? Yes, there was a sewage treatment pond below us as we surveyed the barren, blackened landscape.

sewageWas I freaked out?

A little, but not as bad as I thought I would be.

The sound of the propane jets gave me the willies, but overall it was a nice, floaty, pleasant hour long ride.

balloonMy balloon was named Bliss and it was a rainbow which I LOVED.

My pilot was a hot, bearded fellow named Jeff and I loved him too.

pilot jeffNot just because he was a good pilot and a funny guy, but because he handled the CAR FIRE WHICH FOLLOWED SO WELL.

More on that later. . .

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SoulFire 2016: The Heatstroke Chronicles

white witch michelleMaybe it was just me.

Maybe everyone else did just fine.

But I managed to get myself good and overheated as well as dehydrated at SoulFire TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Tejas and I arrived on Friday at 10 am and set up camp in the heat. Once camp was set up we drank rum and cokes until I started to worry that I wasn’t getting enough liquid so I drank 3 diet cokes.

Just a word of advice: Diet Coke DOES NOT PREVENT DEHYDRATION.

No it does not.

Because at about 9 pm after battling a dehydration headache for about two hours, I gave up and went to bed with 3 Tylenol RIGHT WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD!

I laid there, freezing cold, wanting a bed partner to snuggle with while I recovered.

But no, there were no bed partners to be found.

I laid in bed until about 1 am, then got up to party only to find that the party was winding down.

So back to bed.

Try again another day.

Cue Saturday.

I’m drinking TONS of coconut water to keep me hydrated and yet with the 95 degree heat I still manage to overheat.

Dante took me to the Restaurant to sit in air conditioning and cool down.

I was dizzy walking up the hill to the Restaurant (even though I was wearing nothing but pink ruffled panties and a crochet bikini fringe top).

There was an art exhibit going on in the Restaurant and I found that if I positioned myself just right I could stare at a picture of a dolphin while the vent blew cold air up my butt.

It was amazing!

So, lessons learned:

Diet Coke is not the same as water

Coconut juice will not prevent overheating

Do what you need to take care of yourself

However, if you fuck up (like me) then friends are so helpful when you’re not feeling well.

Love to Tejas for giving me Tylenol and love to Dante for cooling me down.

michelle and tejas

When you drink with your sister

In honor of my sister’s birthday today, a repost from when we experimented with Cost Plus booze.  Happy birthday sissie!  Wish I could be there to celebrate with you.

Start with a mini bottle of Champagne Pink Pop. Pick it out because it’s in a pink bottle and you think it’s pink. Discover it’s not pink and be disappointed. Try champagne and be even more disappointed. Add orange juice to make it drinkable.

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Try OREgasmic Ale by Rogue Farms, because it’s supposed to be OREgasmic. Discover OREgasmic beer tastes like dirty feet and pot ash. Definitely not orgasmic. Be disappointed.

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Try cheap stacked wine which comes in its own glass. Have low expectations. Have low expectations met. Feel foolish for trying wine which comes with a pull off lid.

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Try Blood Orange Mimosa. Suspect it’s a headache in a bottle with a screw top lid, but love it anyway.  Make your sister drink most of it after dosing it with vodka.

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Graduate to bonafide liquor – making really strong mai tai and screwdriver. Decide to hop in the hot tub naked. Have to hang foot out of hot tub because of new foot tattoo (which effing HURTS). Have sister yell at you when you accidentally dip it in the water. Feel sheepish. Snap selfie anyway.

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UPDATE:  Get RAGING cellulitis (skin infection) from dipping foot in hot tub.  Deal with your sister’s “I-told-you-so’s.”  On antibiotics.  Feel even more sheepish.

Building my Egyptian princess costume

I went ahead and committed myself to building an Egyptian princess costume, or perhaps I should say and Egyptian slave costume.

Because I’m pretty sure there are no blond haired, blue eyed Egyptian princesses.

Ever.

I bought a gold bathing suit (cuz Lord know, the playa is too hot for a dress!):

And I bought this Egyptian headdress:

I also bought some turquoise georgette to make arm drapes, and gold elastic:

This, I will have to sew and make myself, so that I wind up with something like this:

I already have bold gladiator sandals, earrings and the necklace, so all I need is to select a belt.

I have two front runners, and I’m curious which one you think would be best:

If you have any thoughts on the matter, shoot me an email at michelle@unblunder.com or fill out the poll below:

Nostalgia

As you all know, I’ve been slowly cleaning my room and going through things I haven’t touched since I got divorced in 2005.

I basically threw things in boxes, stacked the boxes on bookshelves and called it a day.

I’ve come across some lovely old photos in the process, two of which I’ll share here:

Me and friends in 7th grade (circa 1986) – believe it or not, I’m still in touch with seven of them!

One even became my sister-in-law!

Me with friends from my first year of college (circa 1992):

I’ll say this, it was a fun year in the dorms at UCSB.

But the one thing I came across which I was not expecting was a book of photos which I put together for my then-boyfriend Jay.

All the pictures were taken in August of 2008 and capture us at what I think was our happiest together.

What a trip down memory lane.

Camping trips with the kids, beach dates with my dog Mac.

You name it, it’s in there.

Especially PDAs.

However, I was especially touched by how much Mac featured in the album.

Page after page chronicling my affection for my sweet, loving, loyal dog Mac.

And just because I still love that dog more than some people I know, I’m gonna post some wonderful photos which make me smile: